My husband aka personal videographer extraordinaire just finished our recap video for the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon. Scroll down to the bottom if you just want to watch the video and don’t want to read my rambling.
To sum up, I think this may have been the best race yet. Here are 8 things that I absolutely loved about this year’s Disneyland Half.
The weather! After last year’s humid nightmare I was praying for relief this time around. The uncharacteristic humidity we experienced in the weeks leading up to the race had me so nervous. Mother Nature pulled through. The morning was pleasantly overcast (which is a runner’s dream), not too hot, not too cold, and just a teeeensy bit of humidity to make sweating actually feel good.
Roomy corrals. I don’t know this for certain, but I feel that they must have added more corrals this year and designated less people in each. The past couple of years our corral has been so overcrowded (probably largely due to earlier corral starters moving back to run with friends which is allowed but makes the back corrals overstuffed), that we actually got bumped into a later corral. No runner likes that. You want to start as close to the A, B, C world as possible. This year we had plenty of room and no bumpage.
Plenty of water. Last year was the first time ever that the course ran out of water at some stops. I blame the insane heat and humidity but it left me woefully unprepared and dehydrated. Super bummer.This year runDisney obviously stocked up. No lack of water on the course for me.
Our costumes! My favorite ever. I simply love Rapunzel, and Flynn Rider is definitely the swooniest Disney dude since Prince Eric. Perfect for a pair of running newlyweds. Plus, thanks to Rapunzel, I developed a new item for Whimsy Do. Flower braid-in extensions.
New race shirts. FINALLY runDisney created gender specific (in cut only, not style) race shirts for the Disneyland Half. The new shirt fit like a dream, and the color is super cute. Love it.
Our first race as a married couple. Enough said 🙂
This marked my 10th half marathon. How did that happen!
Fancy dinner. The day after the race Brad and I spent our requisite day of celebration in the parks. Since this year marks something special, I thought it was finally time we checked out Carthay Circle. So elegant. So delicious.
And then of course there were a few downsides.
No cheerleaders. This was the first year ever that my Mom and Dennis weren’t able to make it down for the race. They are always there to cheer us on, and they usually run one of the events themselves, but due to scheduling it just didn’t happen this year. We really missed them but they cheered from afar.
No Disneyland dream pool. For three of the years we’ve run this event we splurged on stays at Disneyland resort hotels. We’ve now stayed at all three, once each. My favorite hotel is the Grand Californian for its rustic beauty, but the Disneyland Hotel Pool has everyone beat. It’s an absolute dream. Huge, festive, and has a truly thrilling waterslide. Not to mention the proximity to Trader Sam’s and all the tiki drinks you could ever want. It’s the best and I missed it. This year Brad and I stayed off property. Pool was sub-par, and no tiki drinks. Though we did have an amazing two-bedroom suite with a full kitchen.
Foot pain. I’ve been running for a while in Newtons. While I love them for anything up to 6 miles, I learned through this race that any mileage over 6 my feet can’t seem to take. Around mile 7 I developed serious shooting pain in my left metatarsal. I was actually concerned I may have a fracture. Of course I ran through it, like ya do, and the pain ebbed for a while. At mile 11 it hit me again to the point I actually had to walk. That definitely threw off my flow for the last three miles. I had been on track for a PR before that happened :(. There’s always something to keep that elusive PR just out of reach. I guess it was an educational moment. I now know that I’m going to need a bit more shoe for the marathon. Did someone say more shoes? Ok if I must.
Those are the only negative points I can think of and they weren’t super biggies. Everything was pretty much just incredibly fun, celebratory, and relaxing as usual. Once again I’m left looking forward to Disneyland Half Marathon 2015. But first, we have to get through the WDW Marathon. *Gulp*
I didn’t realize this until my husband pointed it out to me a couple of weeks ago, but the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon marked my 10th half marathon completed. I can’t believe it! I ran my first 13.1 miles at the 2010 Disneyland Half. How fitting that my 10th be at the same event. Full circle. Warm and fuzzies. MILEstone.
In honor of my 10th half marathon-iversary, I thought I’d pay homage to the distance. It’s a great race. I started to think about why I love it so much and as I brainstormed it occurred to me to loop other folks in on the discussion. I’m a member of a fantastic Disney nerd running group on Facebook called Team #runDisney. It’s an amazingly supportive and enthusiastic group of runners. From novices to elites, everyone in this group comes together to share the love of our sport. So who better to answer the question, why do you run the half marathon, than my brothers and sisters in arms (or legs) over at Team #runDisney. The following is a mash-up of their answers as well as my own. I give you:
10 reasons to run a Half Marathon.
It’s all well and good to say you’re going to run 20 miles a week (or whatever), but let’s be serious, you won’t. You’ll get home from work and you’ll feel all tired and sludgy and give in to the couch calling out to you. Couch says “Hey you, yeah you whose derriere I love so much when it snuggles up on me with a glass of wine and a bag of hot Cheetos. Come put your feet up and watch the new episode of Scandal. It’s far too late and that wine is far too delicious. No need to run today.” That’s what the couch says. You can’t listen. You need something to pull you away. Sign up for a half marathon. Paying that kind of money to run a race will keep you motivated to keep going, keep training. Seeing that countdown widget on your phone everyday will remind you of what you promised yourself. Accountability. Plus, I just used wine and hot Cheetos in the same sentence. God help me.
All about the bling
Yes I realize it’s just a cheap piece of metal made for 10 cents somewhere over seas probably by an exploited labor force. But man, I can’t help it, I love my medals. How many instances in life do you get a well-deserved medal placed around your neck for something you accomplished. There’s a reason there’s an established saying “they should give me a medal ” when you bust your butt for something. In this case, they will!
Set an example
Whether it’s your kids, students, nieces, spouse, or co-workers, you have the incredible opportunity to set an example for someone around you. At a time when the dangers of obesity are finally starting to sink in, we’re all having healthier discussions about body image, and nutrition often takes center stage in the national debate, thank God that it seems like the world may be getting healthier. Maybe? Hopefully? The truth is we don’t know if all these studies and articles and dialogues are actually doing anything. What I do know is that I’ve had at least three people tell Brad or I directly that our running habit inspired them to get active again. That’s amazing. If something I’ve done changes one person’s life for the better, worth it. Actions speak so much louder than words (coming from the girl who writes a BLOG! *facepalm*).
Runners raise a shit-ton of money. Millions of dollars every year. In doing so they take the opportunity to educate their friends and families about causes that matter to them. They provide living proof that positive change begins with doing something for yourself but it can’t END there. Change must be paid forward. One of my favorite examples of this phenomenon is Sean Astin’s #run3rd campaign. It sums up the philosophy perfectly. Run 1st for myself. Run 2nd for my family. Run 3rd for YOU. Of course “You” being an embodiment of whatever dedication compels you forward; be it a cause, a loved one, a memory, a statement. Give it away, be a part of something bigger. Make effort meaningful. Running does these things. Cool, huh?
With a capital F! Ok people, I’m not saying you should gorge yourself or anything. That would totally undermine the point I made above about setting a healthy example. But I’m not gonna lie, food tastes waaaay better after you just ran 13.1 miles and know that every single calorie has already been burned off. Most of the time of course you should be healthy and mindful of what you put in your body. Well, actually, all the time. Yes we should be mindful of that all the time. You should see how mindfully I down a chocolate milkshake and stack of buttermilk pancakes with a side of hash browns after I run a half marathon. In all honestly, I’m telling you, when you run consistently you just don’t have to stress about food as much. I never used to be able to eat whatever I wanted without gaining weight just thinking about a few extra calories. Since I’ve been running really consistently I don’t think about it, and I don’t gain. Admittedly, I haven’t lost weight either, but I’m ok with that. The relief of going to the grocery store and just buying what my cravings tell me to buy is so freeing. (News flash, when you get out of diet mode and listen to real cravings, you’ll probably crave healthy foods like fruits, veggies, and protein. True story). But let me repeat my main point, eating WHATEVER you want after you just ran a half marathon is a gift from above.
Fits into your busy schedule
Brad and I just started training this week for the Walt Disney World Marathon. I have to admit, looking at the training calendar I can tell that from here until January running is going to dominate our weekends. Once we get over 14 mile runs, you’re talking about carving out at least 3 hours of straight running every Saturday. That’s *just* the running. That doesn’t include warm-up time, cool-down time, and recovery time. Running over 14 miles is going to knock us out the rest of the day, and we’ll be doing it about 10 weekends in a row. Bye bye social life! Don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for the challenge and am committed to making a social sacrifice to get ready for Disney World come January, but let me tell you the great thing about a half marathon. It’s challenging, quite challenging, requires a good amount of training and consistency, but is not SO challenging that it dominates your life. You can train for a half marathon without neglecting your family, and while maintaining a social life. And at the end of it all you’ll still feel so accomplished after running that race! It’s the perfect distance for we amateur athletes who still want lives.
Running a half marathon can provide great incentive to travel. It might be hard to convince your spouse to fly across the country for a 5k or even a 10k. The half marathon is that magic distance. Your family will be so impressed by your effort and dedication to the challenge, they will readily jump on board to fly to Boston so you can run the inaugural Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon. Tempt them with a Duck Tour and lobster rolls and you’ll start to see that half marathons can be the markers on your traveler’s map. And you won’t be SO beaten up after 13.1 miles that you won’t have any steam left to enjoy your surroundings. A marathon could put you out of commission. A half marathon will leave you feeling celebratory and revitalized with some extra calories to spare (see point #5). Half Marathons have taken Brad and I to Monterey, Big Sur, San Diego, and of course Disneyland!
I’ve always gravitated more toward solitary sports than teams. Does that make me a creeper who doesn’t like people? I don’t think so. It’s just that team sports give me so much anxiety. Too much pressure!. However tennis, swimming, cycling, running. I can get behind all of these. The funny thing is I feel more supported by my fellow runners of the world than I ever did on a team played in school. Perhaps because we don’t compete against each other, we compete against ourselves (talking about non-elites of course). I run to beat my own time, not someone else’s. I don’t disappoint anyone if I can’t finish a race. No runner (me) has panic attacks about letting the team down. This leaves 100% room for positive camaraderie with my fellow runners and no where is that more apparent than at a half marathon. Thousands of eager athletes willing each other to succeed. I want them all to succeed so bad! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried hearing the stories of what my running friends have overcome in their journeys. We share tips with each other, we swap horror stories, we salute new PRs and we comfort epic disappointments. Seems like almost every major thread I read on Facebook is chalk full of dissent, argument, and trolls, except for my running groups. They are a virtual haven. In my running groups I can’t say I’ve ever come across a single troll. I may extol the virtues of the solitary athlete, but I’m not-so-secretly dependent on my “team.”
Running is cheaper than therapy
There are many ways to maintain positive mental health; and running does it for me. The half marathons that I run every year keep an attainable but challenging carrot dangling out in front of me. I have something to look forward to which is always good for joy-making, and running after that carrot gets all kinds of fancy endorphins pumping through my blood and brain. Training will give you built-in “me time.” It will clear your head. It will help you manage stress. Half marathon training is honestly the best prescription for mental stability I’ve ever undertaken. Half marathon = happiness.
Admit it, someone at some point in your life has made you feel incapable and bad. Whether that person was a bully, a pesky relative, or yourself. Someone made you think you couldn’t do things like run 13.1 miles. Oh the satisfaction of proving someone wrong. Run a half marathon because someone at some point told you that you couldn’t. Run a half marathon because you need tangible proof that any dream is catchable.
To finish, I want to share some quotes from the Team #runDisney thread that inspired me to write this, and continues to inspire me keep on runnin’. (Please apply (sic) to all typos, these comments came from the grammar vacuum known as Facebook). I hope you can feel the inspiration oozing from your computer screen, onto your desk, and down into your feet! These people have overcome and accomplished some amazing things. If they can do it, so can YOU!
I love running with people who are running their first half marathons and getting to share the experience of something I really love. It’s amazing to see all the emotions they go through and to be that voice of confidence and encouragement.
I run because I was told I couldn’t. And 8 years later, when I ended up in a wheelchair, I switched to a racing chair because running had become part of who I am. And it’s taught me way too many things to list…
Running ten miles on a Saturday morning means nachos for lunch don’t count!!
I had a stroke about 6 years ago and I run because I can and I know it’s a luxury!
Easier than a marathon and more challenging than a 10K. Just the right distance and I always feel accomplished at the end.
Because people look at me and say, you don’t look like a runner……
I run all distances for fun… 5Ks and 10Ks I want to go fast. Fulls require focus… With the Half, I can be a bit more casual and enjoy the race from start to finish.
Sometimes I don’t have a lot of control of many things in my life -but I always have control of me. It empowers me to stay strong through uncertain times.
I signed up for my first time last year because I can’t seem to accomplish my personal goal at work and needed to know that nothing could hold me back from what I wanted to do if there was no one in my way….
To raise money for a local charity and in honor of a friend who used to run marathons but died of brain cancer two years ago.
I took 20 years off of Running. Last year my son started Kindergarten. I wanted to set an example of exercise. I started with the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas last November. When November rolls around the weekend of the Disney Avenger Race I will have run 9 half marathons in a year’s time. If someone told me last August that I would have run 9 Half Marathons I would have said they were crazy. Yet 5 down, 1 this weekend, then 3 to go!!!
Most of my life I have been a big guy, a couple years ago lost over 100 pounds. I remember how excited I was when I ran my first mile without stopping for the first time in my life. This will be my 2nd half marathon. I don’t run because I can, I run because all my life I couldn’t.
I started running three and a half years ago after my son passed away following a car accident. That’s why I run to honor (him). He was a country runner and rugby player in high school and we had planned to someday do a half marathon together. I’ve done many half marathons and I have three or four more planned in the next 6 months. I run to feel close to and honor him. That’s why I run.
I find a different kind of fulfillment when I run halfs. It’s changed me inside letting me know I am strong and (can) accomplish anything!
I had a rough childhood, survived a relationship that could have ended my life, and emotional struggles from it all. My boys don’t know all this from my past, but I want them to know that strength comes in many forms. Maybe getting that medal is physical validation of what I conquered internally. I also love that I can have them see me run and we can have a family vacation together at our favorite place on the planet. Double bonus!
I started running a few years ago. Did the Disney World 5K at Animal Kingdom and it was amazing!! I cried at the end!! Jumped straight to Half Marathon and was hooked… still cry at the finish!! LOL
For the amazing feeling you get when you finish the race. That natural high lasts for days and carries over into your normal everyday life!
Why you ask… “We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… We must do that which we think we cannot.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Last month I ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon to kick off the 2014 race schedule. I pretty much had a terrible time. I mean it’s Disneyland and Neverland and family fun times so all of the elements of fun were there but when it comes to the running, I had a terrible time. Due to circumstances sort of beyond my control I got a total of 6 hours of sleep in the two nights leading up to the race. That’s 3 hours of sleep the night before a half marathon. I don’t recommend it.
I love waking up with Brad on a race day. While making coffee, Brad makes jokes about how painfully early it is and I flit around the hotel room like a demented fairy, getting nervous for the impending 13 miles ahead. But this morning I just felt tired. SO tired. Deliriously tired. It was difficult to flit around. Pixie dust meter on empty. The thing about waking up at 3:30 am to run a half marathon is that no matter what time you went to bed the night before, you’re always going to be tired. Looking at your alarm clock at 3:30 am will always make you very very sleepy. So on this particular morning I didn’t register that I was more tired than usual. I just felt a malaise. The thought that entered my head was “I’m not really feeling it.” That thought is kryptonite to someone who’s about to run a half marathon. You have to, at the very least, feel it.
We got dressed. I decked out as Smee and Brad my Crocodile (the hat for the Croc being the culprit for my staying up until midnight. Stupid Krazy Glue!)
Stumbling out of our hotel room at approximately 4:15 we make our way to the starting line. The energy surrounding me is as per usual for a runDisney event. Electric. Thousands of runners surround me, many seemingly first time half marathoners. I’m excited. I am. A detached sort of excited. I register my detachment and try to brush it off. This is exciting! It is! Next to us I see a runner dressed as Rufio from Hook. How awesome is that?
5:00 am approaches. The national anthem is sung. The singing of the national anthem usually brings a tear to my eye. This morning it does not. Fireworks ignite the air. The announcers inspire. All of the elements of a fantastic runDisney morning are there and all I can do is continue to suppress the little minion in my head repeating the mantra “I’m just not feeling it.”
Ever feel like you’re in a fog? Like you’re going through the motions of your life, surrounded by things that should make you happy yet they fall upon numbness? Like you have a front row seat to observe your life from the outside? Inside you feel, just, nothing? I’m fortunate that I’ve never been seriously or clinically depressed, but I’m told the sensation is similar. If that is in fact the case then I can tell you that running 13 miles through Disneyland at 5:00 in the morning on 3 hours of sleep is much the same as being clinically depressed. Add to the mix some guilt. Guilt for not being happy at a runDisney race (it feels like sacrilege). Guilt that I paid so much money to run an event that “I’m just not feeling.” Guilt that I coerced Brad into running the same event. Though luckily Brad looks pretty happy. Brad appears to be having a good run. Phew!
Around mile 6, about the time when I’m just wishing the whole damn thing would be over, I start to panic. Am I falling out of love with running? Am I falling out of love with Disney? Are runDisney and I going to have to break up??? No!! Sheer panic. Why do I feel so terrible? Why isn’t Tinker Bell making me happy? What is this malaise? Why am I not feeling it? I still had not put 2 and 2 together that 3 hours of sleep the night before miiiiight contribute to my lack of excitement.
Brad runs with gusto. He is, as I said, having a great race and clips along at a good pace. I can’t hold him back in my fog. He takes off around mile 9 and continues on to have a fantastic final 4 miles. I just try to make it through.
There is one characteristic emotion of mine that can’t seem to be anesthetized, no matter my state of exhaustion or malaise, and that is my lovely stubbornness. Even though I’m tired and struggling and should really just take it easy if I ever want to enjoy running again, for some reason I decide that I want to finish in under 3 hours. I push it hard the last few miles to ensure that will happen and I cross the finish line feeling, for the first time, pretty damn good. What I soon discover is that since I hadn’t really been feeling anything the entire race, not excitement or joy or determination, I mistook these final emotions (extreme pain) as “pretty damn good.” I suppose I was just relieved to be feeling anything. Since a popular runner’s motto is “my sport is your sport’s punishment” let’s just say it’s not uncommon for a runner to mistake pain for pleasure.
I cross the finish line, find Brad, take our picture, get some water, and feel relieved the race is done. About 10 minutes later I feel everything a runner dreads. Nausea, extreme exhaustion, dizziness, chills, irritability. Damnit. My stubbornness caught up with me. Lactic acid comes rushing in.
Somehow I make it through to the other side of this episode. We find Mom and Dennis and head to Denny’s for breakfast. The thought of food makes me feel like I want to die whilst vomiting, but Mom insists that it will make me feel better. I suspect she’s right so I go with them to Denny’s even though all I really want to do is collapse. Mom orders me a chocolate milkshake and you know what, it was like magic. That magic guilt-free chocolate milkshake I downed at 8:00 in the morning perked me up and settled my tummy. Ice Cream really is the answer to everything. Best chocolate milkshake ever.
After breakfast we walk back to the hotel for a much needed nap, and now that my brain feels a bit more attached to my head I can start to think clearly again. I start to ask questions. Why does this happen to me? Why is it that sometimes I have a great race and sometimes I feel like shit? It can’t just be training. I’m actually pretty well trained for this race. Why does lactic acid seem to attack me only on some runs, and takes pity on me others?
By this point I’d gotten smart and realized that sleep deprivation no doubt played a major role in my malaise. After the milkshake cleared my head I had a light bulb moment and said “Ooohhh. THAT’S why I wasn’t feeling it.” Amazing it took me that long to figure out. I took this as a comfort, knowing that it’s something I can control. Next time I’ll just get more sleep. But this lactic acid question lingered and bothered me. I don’t feel as though I have control over its presence in my running. It seems to rear its ugly head when it wants to, other times a sleeping dragon. After our nap I set out to do some research on this evil foe. I want to understand how lactic acid really works in the body. Why in the world does our body produce anything that would make us feel so terrible right at the time when we need our body to work FOR us, not against us? The answers I found astounded me.
I discovered that lactic acid is actually meant to work for you, you just have to know how to use it. Mind blown. Suddenly I feel like if I can understand this villain of mine, perhaps we can be allies. It’s just as Honest Abe Lincoln once said, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” Lactic acid and I are about to become bffs.
I’ll impart my research on lactic acid at a later date. Before you roll your eyes, I promise that it’s interesting! I’ve got more studying to do however before I can write a worthy article. As far as Tinker Bell Half Marathon 2014 goes, I found myself in a foggy runner’s malaise and turned it into a teachable moment. And that’s why I run. Because although I briefly panicked that running and I were falling out of love, the great thing about a healthy relationship is that you can always work it out. Running and I, we’re working it out. We’re learning about each other.
Sunday afternoon I went for a breathtaking 5 mile run on the beach. I pushed myself. I philosophized. I worked through some mental cobwebs that had been bugging me. I felt centered. I felt grateful for my feet.
My fiance made such a great recap video of this year’s Disneyland Half Marathon festivities, I feel that I don’t need to say much in a recap post. I’ll just post the video for now and follow up later with a narrative recap for anyone who is interested. I do actually have a couple of criticisms of this year’s event (gasp!) but mostly they involve the weather. My beef is with Mother Nature. Girl, what was with that humidity!? All in all runDisney put on another wonderful weekend celebrating running, accomplishing your goals, health, and of course Disney!
I think this is the best video of the event Brad has ever put together. Good job honey! Enjoy!
The date is fast-approaching! There are about 15,000 runners out there who in just 12 days will be gearing up to run a half marathon! I’m no pro, and I don’t have a degree in physical therapy or any professional experience with athletics, so I rarely feel like I can give proper advice about things like injuries or technique. I’m just a girl who’s been running for 15 years, some years more robustly than others, and the only advice I have to offer is what has worked for me. It may work for some, won’t work for others. Every runner is different! Today I offer such advice as you prep and pack for your trip to Disneyland! I’d like to share with you some of my must-have items for Disneyland Half Marathon weekend. This checklist should apply to any half-marathon really. I’m sure you’ll be able to pick out the Disney specific items 🙂 (e.g. you probably don’t need to bring your Mickey Mouse Ears to the ING NYC Marathon).
Let’s start from head to toe:
1. Hats! I never know when sunglasses are going to give me a headache, so it’s best to have a hat to keep the sun out of my eyes. My runDisney hats are my favorite of course:
You’ll want a hat that’s lightweight and has some mesh along the sides that breathe. Case in point, don’t just go running a half marathon in a regular old baseball hat. After a while you’ll start to feel like you’ve got a winter cap on your head! Visors are a great option because they don’t trap the heat (heat escapes from the top of your head so hats can be tricky on a really hot day). Visors aren’t so much my style but I could learn to embrace them. Maybe they’ll have some at the Health & Fitness Expo!
2. Sweaty Bands. I loooove sweaty bands! I first discovered them at the Dland Half Health & Fitness Expo a couple of years ago and they’re kind of like magic. If you don’t need or want to wear a hat or visor but still want to keep your hair out of your face, you must invest in some Sweaty Bands. They are basically just headbands but the underside is made of this magic velvety material and they DO. NOT. SLIP. I wore one last year when I ran as Alice in Wonderland and the thing didn’t budge once. Nor did it squeeze my head or bother me in any way. Love these things!
3. Hair Ties. This one is for the long-haired ladies and gents. The first year I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon I completely forgot to bring hair ties! You probably wouldn’t make the same glaring oversight but I wanted to mention it juuuuust in case. I was scrambling at 10 pm the night before the race trying to find some hair elastics!
4. Sunglasses. This one is particularly important for the Disneyland Half Marathon. The way the course is laid out, you exit the parks and run east into Anaheim RIGHT as the sun is coming up. The timing is worse depending on what corral you’re in and what time you actually start the race, but for MOST runners you’re going to get stuck right in the eye line of a rising sun. The first year I ran I had to borrow Brad’s sunglasses for this portion. My eyes are super sensitive and his aren’t so much, so he took pity on me. One year we ran the race it was really overcast for most of the morning (as it often is in SoCal) and it wasn’t as much of a problem, but you just never know so it’s better to be safe than sorry. You want to be sure and get athletic sunglasses specifically, and test them out on a run beforehand. A lot of glasses will bounce on your face or fog up when you run and trust me, both are very annoying. Find a pair that work with your stride. Sunglasses.
5. Sunscreen. Speaking of protection from those UV rays, don’t forget to lay on some sunscreen. You’ll be outside running for 3+ hours. Skin cancer is bad! Brad and I really like the Neutrogena sunscreen shown below. There is nothing worse than sweating sunscreen into your eyes during a run (ouch that burns!) and this one doesn’t seem to do that. It works for us. Also, here’s a pro-tip for you: don’t be fooled by a high SPF number. Anything over 30, i.e. SPF 50, 75, 85, is negligible and is just a marketing ploy put in place by manufacturers to get you to buy their product and charge you more. True story. You’re good with SPF 30. Also make sure to get a broad spectrum sunscreen which blocks both UVA and UVB rays. That is much more important than a high SPF.
6. Chapstick. I hate running with chapped lips! It makes me feel like I’m running through a desert and desperate for water. I’m usually fine if I put some on before the run. I don’t need to bring it in my fuel belt; but if you’re particularly prone to chapped lips, go ahead and bring a stick on the run.
7. Vaseline. Chafing is no joke people. This is an important one you don’t want to forget! Weak spots for ladies tend to be under the ta-tas right where your sports bra sits. Men, it’s more so on the nips. I personally also get chafing spots on my tricep area, which I’m sure means I need to work a little harder to get rid of those chicken cutlets I’ve got dangling (we can’t all be Michelle Obama!). A lot of people buy fancy athletic anti-chafing stuff like Body Glide, but I’ve never tried it. I’ve heard mixed reviews so I’ve never sprung the extra dough for it. There are a lot of options out there. This article from an ultra-runner gives a great breakdown of different products you can try. You have to see what works for you. Me, I use Vaseline. Works like a charm. I don’t love the idea of smothering petroleum all over my breast area but it’s better than chafing. A lot of people don’t like to use Vaseline because they say it stains their clothes. I guess it depends where you need to apply it. So far I haven’t noticed any staining on my sports bras or running shirts, so I’m going to stick with Vaseline. It’s cheap and easy to find.
8. Clothes! An obvious and very important item. You may be so excited to prep and pack your awesome running costume that you completely forget to pack the athletic clothing that goes with it. Also make sure you bring running clothes that you know don’t bother you. For example I have a couple of sports bras that are way more comfortable than others so I’m going to be sure that they are laundered and ready to be packed. Plan ahead. You’re going to want your most comfortable sports bras, undies, socks, etc. I also like to bring a spare of most things. You just never know! Don’t forget to also pack a swimsuit so you can luxuriate by the pool after your race!
The good news is that if you forget anything, there is a Target right down the street from Disneyland so you can pick up pretty much any clothing item you may need.
9. Fuel Belt. Everyone requires different amounts of water at different times on a long race, but I’m just going to tell you from my personal experience, I really don’t think you need to bring water on your fuel belt. RunDisney races are so well fueled. I’ve never ever been thirsty. Every time I feel like I really want a drink of water, there’s a water station right around the corner. Also, through the parks you will run past several water fountains. Water on my belt weighs me down and slows me down. I only wear it when I absolutely have to, like times that I know there won’t be a lot of water along my route. All that being said, I do still wear a belt, just minus the water, and I’d recommend you wear one too. It’s a must for holding various things you probably will need like an iPod, phone, earbuds, ID, gels, etc. The hard part is trying to find one that will match your running costume 😉
10. Phone/Camera. You will most likely want to snap at least a few pics along the course. Especially if it’s your first runDisney race! The parks look so lovely with all of the runners racing through, and they have so much entertainment along the course. Even the city of Anaheim provides a lot of great entertainment throughout the city. I just bring my phone which doubles as my music and camera. It’d be a bit much to have an iPod and a camera, though there are those who do it. Snapping pics with your phone will drain the battery faster, so there’s that.
11. Earbuds. You’ll be so sad to reach for your iPod to start your kick-ass running playlist only to discover you forgot your headphones. Wah wah waahhh. My absolute favorite brand is Yurbuds. I have been on a quest for YEARS to find earbuds that don’t fall out when I run. Never really found a winning pair, until now. I’ve been wearing my pink Yurbuds for a year and they have never ever fallen out while running. Not even once. They are awesome.
12. Compression socks/sleeves. I really love to wear compression socks on a long run. I don’t know if it’s in my head, but I feel like I recover much quicker when I run long with compression socks. Pro Compression socks are nice. They’ll also have a good selection at the Health & Fitness Expo if you want to wait and buy some when you get there.
13. Shoes! It would be pretty silly to forget your running shoes on your trip to a race, but I’m sure it’s happened! And you know what, it’s totally something I would do. I haven’t yet, but there’s a first time for everything. So I’m saying it here, don’t forget your shoes! And make sure you bring a pair that you’ve already broken in. You may be tempted to buy a brand new glistening pair of sneaks to commemorate your half marathon, but you do NOT want to run 13.1 miles in new shoes. Blisters! You’ve got to give yourself a few weeks to break in those puppies. Make sure to pack your race shoes, as well as whatever shoes you’re going to wear AFTER the race and in the parks. Your feet might be pretty swollen from running 13.1 miles so you might want to bring some comfortable walking sandals to wear on the following days. Give those ol’ dogs a chance to get back to their normal size 🙂
14. Running Fuel. You’ll get a Clif Shot, which is basically Gu, at mile 9, but if you’re like me and the mere sound of the word Gu makes your stomach turn, you’ll need to bring your own fuel. At Jeff Galloway’s suggestion, I use gummy bears! They work like a charm. Recently I tried a Honey Stinger Waffle on a 12 mile run and it was actually quite delicious and didn’t upset my stomach, so I recommend those as well. You can also try Clif Shot Blocks. They are nowhere near as gross as Gu, but they still provide replenishing electrolytes. Sometimes I’ll have one or two of these on a long run and they don’t bother my tummy too much.
15. First Aid. Hopefully you won’t really need any first aid from running your half marathon but you might get a blister or two and it’s almost guaranteed you’ll be sore. Really smart to bring the essentials: band-aids, ibuprofen (or whatever pain reliever you prefer), antibacterial wipes. If you want to get more advanced, throw in an ACE bandage, some neosporin, an ice pack, or even some biofreeze. If you’re struggling with a running injury, I HIGHLY recommend you get some KT Tape for the run. It’s kind of like magic. They’ll have a booth at the Health & Fitness Expo and you can have one of their reps apply it for you. In short, it’s a very flexible synthetic tape that works optimally with your body movement. As you move, the tape lifts your skin away from your muscle allowing for more flexibility and circulation to the injured area, while also providing support without constricting movement. It kind of helps your body heal itself. You remember Kerri Walsh in the Summer Olympics:
15. Park stuff. Are you going into the parks after your race?? I hope so! The best part is parading around in your awesome runDisney bling and/or race shirt so all of the cast members and guests can say congratulations to you! Also, Disneyland, duh. You didn’t travel all this way to run past Radiator Springs Racers but not RIDE it! So make sure to pack your park stuff. Comfy walking clothes, shoes, hats, and a backpack or fanny pack or comfortable bag you don’t mind lugging around all day. And of course, don’t forget your Mickey Mouse ears!
In review, here is your list:
Sweaty Bands or other headband to keep hair out of your face
Hair elastics (for the long-haired runners)
Vaseline or other anti-chafing gel
Running clothes: your most comfy
Phone and/or Camera and/or iPod
Broken in running shoes
Extra socks, undies, sports bras
Running fuel: Gu, sport beans, gummy bears, Clif Shot Bloks, etc.
First Aid: band-aids, pain relievers, antibacterial wipes
Park gear: backpack, Mickey Ears, comfy walking clothes, etc.
There you have it. Your basic checklist of things to pack for the Disneyland Half Marathon. Did I forget anything? Add on to the list by commenting below. Help other runners prepare for this awesome weekend!
The buzz and excitement continues for the upcoming Disneyland Half Marathon. I’ve been following all of the tweets and Facebook Group posts about it and at this point it’s pretty much all I can think about! Such is always the case a month or so before race weekend. I turn into a giddy little child counting down to Christmas. Today I can’t help but feel nostalgic. The reason I’m so giddy year after year (and so willing to fork over the dough for registration fees) is because my first year at the Disneyland Half Marathon was so special. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we? Just a short one. I promise. I know you all have runs to get in 😉
The year was 2010. I really can’t remember the month but let’s say it was March. This was back in the old days before runDisney. I know, hard to believe there was a time before runDisney, but it’s true! This was in the time when each park, the Land or the World, organized racing events on their own. Sometime in the early part of the year (we decided on March, yes?) I came across a pamphlet in a coffee shop for the Disneyland Half Marathon. (This was also back in the days when the races didn’t sell out in 48 hours and you learned about local events from pamphlets in coffee shops). I really couldn’t believe my eyes. How did I not know about this? Running at Disneyland? That sounded like the coolest thing ever. Turned out it was 🙂
I had never run more than 9 miles but I figured, what’s 4 more? I can do it! I decided I wanted to raise money for a good cause while training and that’s exactly how I got into blogging. I launched The Happiest Runner on Earth to reach out to donors and share my training progress. The Disneyland Half Marathon is responsible for many things. It’s responsible for getting me back in shape, getting me running consistently again, and getting my writing out there. Although first-person narrative non-fiction isn’t my writing career target, it gets me writing, and it keeps me connected with all of the other thousands of running freaks and Disney nerds out there. Raise your hands people.
That first race was magical. Running through the parks early in the morning with Paradise Bay all lit up, the fog still sitting low on the ground, and the surprise of cheerful characters around every corner; it was a perfect run. The surprise of how many runners were in attendance (I would’ve never dreamed to see 14,000!), and the joyful gratitude I held for each and every volunteer there to either hand out water, or simply hold up a sign to cheer on strangers crazy enough to run 13.1 miles; it was a perfect run. The experience of running a RACE for the first time ever, getting a little bit competitive with that other girl with Tinker Bell wings who I haven’t managed to pass for the past 4 miles, hitting the wall at mile 11 and figuring out how to dig up true willpower to finish, crossing a finish line for the first time: it was a perfect run. I’ve written before about how you can never quite recapture the magic of the first time, and how there’s something inherently sad about that, but every year that I run this race I get a glimmer of the first year’s excitement; and no it’s not quite the same, but it’s worth it. And it’s worth it for all of the NEW memories we create every single year. Like falling down the rabbit hole at mile 9, or discovering the magic of gummy bears. Every race holds some new lesson buried within it. In running the race you dig up the lesson and you move on to the next exciting event wiser, faster, stronger. It’s a pleasant addiction.
Your first day at school, first trip to Disneyland, first time seeing the Grand Canyon, first love, first kiss. Firsts are just plain awesome. You only get them once for a fleeting moment yet they leave a lifelong impact. You really never forget your first time. Thankfully my first half marathon was at Disneyland, and I’ll honor that joyful memory by running it every year until my legs (or my pocketbook) give out.
Here are the videos of our first Disneyland Half Marathon to complete the stroll down memory lane. Ahh, memories 🙂
As we gear up for Disneyland Half Marathon weekend 2013, we face one of the year’s most important questions: what costume will we wear? The first two years that we ran the race I had zero success in convincing Brad to dress up with me. He was concerned about comfort while running and I certainly wasn’t going to push him. For some reason in year 3 my skills of coercion must have developed to a higher level and I successfully convinced him to be the White Rabbit to my Alice. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a look back:
First year I went simple. Tink fairy wings and a green shirt. It was more of a hint of a costume than a costume.
Year 2 I kicked it up just slightly. Red and white polka dot running skirt, heart-detailed compression socks, and fuzzy Minnie Mouse ears.
In year 3 things started to get real. I finally convinced Brad to partner with me on the costume front. This was certainly the best costume choice so far.
I managed to convince Brad to dress up with me because even though he was the White Rabbit, he was able to dress as such in pretty much entirely running clothes. Grey running shorts, white long-sleeve tech tee and red jersey pullover. Only thing not from the athletic department was the bunny ears headband. He wants to be comfortable and doesn’t want to be slowed down by heavy non-running attire for the sake of good pictures. Understandable. So this leads to today’s query, what about this year?
I need your ideas! What should we dress up as this year, keeping in mind that I have to be able to get Brad in something that can be portrayed in running attire. Here’s where my mind is currently:
When I get an idea in my head it’s hard to get it out, so now I’m brainstorming ways to modify Mary Poppins and Burt with running attire. It can be done.
However, we ARE running the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare so maybe something Dumbo-themed would be fun.
The sky is really the limit. What are your ideas?
Are you dressing up for the Disneyland Half Marathon this year? Or how about the 10k? Share your favorite costume ideas in the comments below!
Registration for the 2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon is now open! In true runDisney fashion, after just one day the race is already 87% full (at the time of this posting Wednesday morning). Don’t miss out, and don’t over think it. Just sign up! Chances are it will fill up by the end of the week. The registration fee is a bit steep, but fellow runDisney fans will concur, it’s worth it. Sign up today!
I realize it’s been 2 months since the Tinker Bell Half Marathon but what can I say, better late than never? I always intend to do these incredible, inspiring, reflective, life-changing race recaps but the task becomes so daunting that I put it off and never get to it. Hence, nothing gets done in my life. So, in an effort to do things I say I’m going to do, I’m going to go ahead and write my race recap anyway because you know what, I had a great time and I’d like to share.
As is often the case, the race was not without its hiccups and challenges. The hectic holiday season (especially hectic this year) made training rather difficult and because I thought I was going to run/walk with my Mom and not worry about a PR, I wasn’t too concerned about a strict training regimen. It was only a couple of weeks before the race that my Mom decided she wasn’t going to be able to run with me. *Gulp*. Guess I should have trained harder, since now it looked like I was going to run with my fast fiance and our rather fast friend Chris, who was taking my mom’s place.
Sometime around the new year I realized another potential road block to Neverland. It was flu season. So far I had escaped unscathed, as had my fiance; but we got our hopes up too soon. Right after New Year’s Brad went down in battle. The flu got him good. He was out of commission for a solid 3 weeks. I grew paranoid about so many things.
A) His health and well-being. I became concerned his illness was turning into pneumonia and stubborn man that he was, he refused to go the doctor.
B) My own health and well-being. I mean, I can’t NOT kiss the guy for three weeks!
C) The race. Whose idea was it to schedule a half marathon during flu season. Curses!
About a week before the race, it happened. I started to feel it. The tickle in the back of your throat and the general ooginess that lets you know you’re being preyed upon by an unwanted bug. I’ve never fought off a cold so hard. Never drank so much water and OJ. Never took so many vitamins. Never slept so much. I don’t know if it was the copious amounts of echinacea and vitamin C or rather my strong will to race, but something got me through. I got sick, but never full blown. I was bad for about a day and half and started to feel better about 3 days before the race. Still, my immune system was obviously compromised and I had a half marathon to run. How I would reconcile those two things, I had no idea.
Chris, Brad, and I drove down to the Health & Fitness Expo the day before the race to pick up our bibs. Brad came with us armed with an ample dose of magical thinking, hoping there was a way he could still run. That pipe dream was soon dashed. Poor baby was still so sick, and obviously really frustrated that he was completely out of commission. Come on people, you know those runDisney races aren’t cheap. When you pay for that, you want to run it. As we left the Expo he admitted defeat. He wouldn’t run.
I turned to Chris and realized, it’s just him and me now, and gosh darnit, we WERE going to run tomorrow and we were going to have fun!
I had made reservations to stay at a hotel that night since the race started at 5:00 am. Just too difficult to drive down from Venice that early in the morning. Suddenly it dawned on me. A joyous long weekend of running in Disneyland with my mother and fiance had devolved into a night in the Travelodge with this guy:
The room smelled like pine sol and cigarettes and Chris had to sleep on a roll-away that barely fit in the room. What can I say? The universe is unpredictable. The important thing is, this makes a pretty good story now, and the MOST important thing is, we had a great time.
Got my running costume all ready the night before. Ok, so it’s not the most original costume choice in the world for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. I was sick! I had other things on my mind!
On the shuttle to the start line. SO early.
At this point Chris became aware that he was pretty much the only dude on the bus. I reminded him it was a “woman focused” event. He found the male/female ratio intriguing to say the least. (I love the look on the girl’s face right behind him, to the right. Classic)
At the starting line!
A sea of runners. Always majorly impressed by the turnout at runDisney events!
Getting some encouragement from Minnie and Daisy.
I LOVE all of the signs that the chEAR squad and spectators hold up along the course. This one had to be my favorite!
After this we were off and running. I’d never run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon course before and it was significantly different than the Disneyland Half. I had to admit, jury was still out on which I preferred. In the Tinker Bell Half you spent the first mile running up Disneyland Drive and then around Ball Rd and back down Harbor. You ran a solid mile and half before you even made it into the first park. I do think there’s a benefit to that because it delays gratification a little bit and builds up the excitement for running in the parks. It also made me feel like I was in the parks longer before we headed out onto the streets of Anaheim. Getting that big hill on Ball Rd out of the way in the beginning when we were running on excitement and adrenaline was also a major plus. In the Disneyland Half you hit that hill just as you’re leaving the parks, which is a downer unto itself. To be greeted by a huge hill as you’re leaving? A challenge to say the least.
When we turned into the resort, we ran into a mysterious tunnel.
I tell ya what, this place never ceases to surprise me. I know those parks backward and forward, and I had no idea this tunnel existed. I have to admit, it was a little bit creepy; especially since it was still totally dark out. Ominous!
After that we finally ran into Disney California Adventure. The first thing we did was run through Paradise Pier. They had the lights and fountains going for World of Color and it was an inspiring sight. A perfect kickoff to this race. The sun STILL hadn’t come up so the fountains and lights looked gorgeous.
Since I was feeling a bit ooky from my cold, I had decided that I wasn’t going to push myself in any way on this run. The goal was to have fun and to finish. That being the case, this was the perfect race to stop and take pictures! Each time we stopped to take a picture with a character Chris basically made it sound like I was subjecting him to torture, but I knew he secretly loved it. How could you not?
With Mary Poppins and Burt. Chris is a penguin.
Stealing a pic with the Peter Pan characters. Even I could admit the line for this gang was ridiculously long, so we just sneaked in the back and slyly pointed in their direction.
Me and Miss Bell
Love this one! Two of my faves. Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. And here you can get a shot of Chris’ EVIL compression socks. Aren’t those rad? Meanwhile I look like a doofus in my 3/4 pants and black compression socks. I don’t care though. Gotta have my compression!
This had to be around mile 3 or 4 and yes, it’s STILL dark out
Running through the castle!
Disney custodial is all about the runDisney. And we THANK YOU Disney custodial!
We made our way through the rest of DCA and Disneyland and I have to say, it was more fun than the Disneyland Half course through the parks. I don’t know if it was that first mile and half we burned before we even got there, but it really felt like we were in the parks for so much longer than the Dland Half. We approached mile 6 as we finally left Disneyland!
Then we were off on the streets of Anaheim. At this point Chris took off ahead of me. He was training for the LA Marathon and wanted to keep his pace up. I was still icky and just wanted to finish. I struggled at certain points along the rest of the course so I decided to employ the run/walk/run method to make sure I reserved enough energy to make it to the finish line. I have to tell you, that was the first time I’d ever officially run a sizable distance doing run/walk/run and I felt awesome! I couldn’t believe how good my time was considering I was under the weather. It’s basically magic. I don’t know if I’ll do it all the time, but I will say that when I finally do get around to running the Walt Disney World Marathon, I’m calling Jeff Galloway.
Let’s talk briefly about the course. I’m really split on my opinion of the Tinker Bell course vs. the Disneyland Half. There are pros and cons to both so in the end they probably come out evenly matched. The pros of the Tinker Bell half were that it was definitely more scenic. You ran through some rather charming residential neighborhoods and a really nice shopping area of Anaheim that I didn’t even know existed. On the Disneyland Half you spent a ton of time on the big, I’m sorry to say ugly, boulevards of Anaheim. The major pro of the Disneyland Half however was that you got to run through Angel Stadium. That was one of my absolute favorite things about that race, even though it’s where I bit the dust last year. It’s hard to leave behind the energy of the parks, but getting to run through a crowded cheering baseball stadium at mile 9 and see everyone’s faces on the Jumbotron gave all of us runners the exact burst of energy needed to finish the race. If the Tinker Bell course ran through the stadium, it would be better hands down. HOWEVER, I’m glad it doesn’t. I’m glad that the Disneyland Half Marathon course gets to distinguish itself by having that treat.
Getting close to the finish! Unfortunately by way of that creepy tunnel.
One more mile!
Both feet off the ground!
At the finish line with Minnie. Don’t you think this should be an ad for runDisney?? I think so 🙂
I was so excited to get my thermal blanket. You just don’t feel like a distance runner until you get an astronaut blanket.
I really couldn’t believe how fantastic I felt finishing this race. Sometimes it pays to give yourself a break, do what you can, and re-calibrate your goals to what you can actually accomplish. If I hadn’t gone easy on myself for being sick and insisted on pushing to meet my average pace for a half marathon, I would have made myself seriously ill, and very likely wouldn’t have even finished. I cut myself some slack and the running Gods rewarded me with a beautiful new medal to add to my collection.
I don’t even remember my final chip time or my splits and I’m not even going to look them up because I’m not worried about it. Sometimes it’s ok just to run.
After the race I met up with Chris who also had a really great run. First thing on our minds? Breakfast! We ate at Catal in Downtown Disney. I hadn’t eaten there in years and I must say, their brunch was amazing! I had the smoked salmon hash.
Chris had shrimp grits, southern boy that he is.
After that we headed home. Unfortunately no time for fun in the parks this trip. With a sick fiance at home and my own immune system pushed to the max, what we needed was sleep.
Thanks to runDisney for another great event! My bank account however has quite a beef with you as I think I’m now addicted to another race. BUT, the price of admission is worth it to have so much fun while staying healthy.
Did you run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon this year? How did you do?
Now that my deep searching of soul and life confessions are out of the way, it’s time to get back to business, the business of running! We have to get to Tahiti! The Tinkerbell Half Marathon is in 51 days and I know that if I don’t get motivated to train, my mom won’t either, and we ARE running this race together.
I’m sure I’m not the only one to ever deal with a little (or a lot) of anxiety, am I right? For me, there are a few things that calm my nerves. A heartfelt talk with someone I love, a warm cup of tea, meditation… and running. Running grounds all of the crazy thoughts that tend to shake around in my brain during a panic attack. Those endorphins don’t hurt either. What gets you out of panic mode? We neurotics have to stick together and share our survival tips!
In other news…
Brad is seriously whooping my butt this month with the mileage count:
Becky? Not so much…
Will definitely be stepping up the mileage next week.
In all seriousness though, everyone, thank you so much for reading yesterday’s post. I actually wrote that post over a week ago but it took me that long to get up the nerve to publish it. I’m relieved that it’s out in the universe! I have no idea what exactly lies ahead, but I’m discovering the meaning of faith, and I have faith that the journey looks promising. Your outpouring of love and support means more than you’ll ever know.